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Late Bloomers

Why do people associate dentistry with suicide. At parties, social gatherings, meetings, people ask you what you do and you reply “Oh I’m a dentist.” 

They happily volunteer —  “Isn’t that the profession with the highest level of suicide?” 

I almost believed them, after all it has been going on in my life for over 40 years. 

I know we suffer,  stress, depression and burnout but it would appear that we are not, thankfully, at the top of the suicide ladder.

I decided to do some research as I have a particular interest on the impact of our career on us. I was surprised to read that the highest suicide rate records both in the UK and Australia was amongst male Tradies, or men in blue-collar jobs, with construction workers killing themselves at double the rate of any other occupation. 

In the UK males working in the lowest-skilled occupations had a 44% higher risk of suicide than the male national average; the risk among males in skilled trades was 35% higher. 

Years ago I was discussing a patient with my father. He was a GP and he was telling me about a young, very depressed construction worker who had come to see him looking for answers. 

After listening to him, my father suggested he took an IQ test. The man objected, saying he had never achieved much at school and doubted that this would shed any light on the problem. My father insisted!

To their joint amazement his IQ gave him entry to Mensa, the high IQ society. In his inimitable style, my father told his patient that he was bored and should start using his considerable brain and he did. It wasn’t the job that was wrong, he was just wrong for the job. 

Could it be that some of these suicides could have been avoided if these people were allowed to live up to their academic potential?

Could it be that these men suffered for lack of mental stimulation? 

Could it be that they were late developers and by the time they were ready to learn it was all over?

 School finished and them left with no academic record on which to build a future. 

Thursday, 12th of September was RUOK day here in Australia. 

In question time one politician stated that it was everyones responsibility to make sure we are all ok!

I understand that there are many other contributing factors, but isn’t this worth considering?

Maybe they’re just late bloomers!